Koh Rong Cost Of Living
When considering an article on the cost of living on Koh Rong, you have to take into account the prices throughout Cambodia and especially Phnom Penh & Sihanoukville and make a comparison. As a westerner the cost of living anywhere in South East Asia is far cheaper than usually the US, UK, Australia, Europe & South America, so I will just cover some main points from an Australian point of view.
Firstly, Koh Rong is a little more expensive for everyday items you would find in any of the major Cambodian cities, due to everything on the island being bought over on boats, so you have to factor cost of transportation and handling. An example would be fruit & vegetables, if you are paying $1 a kg in Sihanoukville, you would add another 10 – 20% for the island. So in general, if you add 15% across the board, you will be in the ball park for major city comparisons.
If you are on a retirement pension of have a set amount of income per month, this is a cost of living guide that should give you some insight on what you will need to live and have a good life on the beach here on Koh Rong. This is not a backpackers budget guide, it is more for people who are coming over to the island to live a fairly normal life like they did at home.
Short to Long term accommodation in a basic bungalow with a beach view will cost you anywhere from $200 – $700 per month depending on the time of year and what amenities are offered, such as aircond, fridge etc., and if you are staying in a resort atmosphere with a restaurant and bar.
The low season ( July – October) is obviously cheaper and you will have more options to choose from. In high season depending on how busy the island is, finding resorts type accommodation will be less available and you would be able to negotiate direct with the accommodation provider or find a cheaper guesthouse at a well priced nightly or monthly rate. Even in peak season you will still find something for less than $30 per night for those couple of months around Christmas and New Year.
Koh Rong is developing more as a living island, so this will change over the next few years as the island develops and builds more longer term accommodation. There are quite a few projects in development that will cater to this market and you could also buy / lease some land and build your own.
Eating on Koh Rong is similar to anywhere in South East Asia and prices of local food range from around $1.50 for a breakfast dish like pork and rice to $4 – $7 for your western type food like bacon & eggs with coffee and fruit juice. Obviously depending on location & quality, the prices vary, but this is a general guide.
The standard fried rice and local Khmer meals are around $2 – $4 each and are plentiful throughout the island. If you are looking to eat western food like pizza, burgers, roast dinners etc., these are also available from Khmer and western run establishments, so there are plenty of choices from approximately $5 and up.
I would suggest that if you budget on around $20 – $30 a day you will cover all of your food costs, including your mango shakes or coconuts while sitting on the beach. You can live far cheaper and even cook for yourself for under $10 a day, but if you want good service and you want to eat at restaurants or food stalls, this should be used as just a food price guide.
Alcohol & Cigarettes
In comparison with other countries, prices of alcohol and cigarettes in Cambodia are a fraction of the cost, what they are in western countries.
I know in Australia right now a carton of cigarettes cost over $450 and a beer at the local, will cost you over $6.
For all of you that like to indulge, the good news here in Cambodia and on Koh Rong you are paying around 10% of what you pay in your home country.
A carton of cigarettes’ will cost you from $4 – $12 depending on the brand you prefer and you can buy a 1 packet from around $1 – $4.
If you want to drink beer in a bar, local beer will cost you around 50 cents a glass to $1.50 a bottle depending on the brand.
If you drink spirits you will be looking around $3 a drink. If buying your own alcohol from the convenience store, you will pay much less again.
Electricity prices on the island comes mostly from generator power, so there are real costs involved as the generators are run by diesel fuel.
Currently prices are around 50 cents to 75 cents per KW, which is expensive compared to most western countries.
The good news is Koh Rong will be connected to mainland power in the next 12 months and that will bring the prices down to normal Cambodian prices of about 15 – 20 cents a KW. These are not exact figures, just a general price that is usual in the main cities.
There are 4 ferry services on the island and the cost of travel is approximately $12 – $14 each way, so if you want to go to Sihanoukville once a week for shopping or a night out, add that cost to your budget. The ferry takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes and leaves from the main pier areas all over the islands.
I hope this gives you a general idea on what it will cost you to live on Koh Rong as a long term resident. This is just my opinion and the prices given are just approximates, to give you the general feel of what is on offer and what you need to live comfortable. Many people could live on $500 a month if that is the way you choose to, but for the majority of people who want a little bit of luxury and to eat out, I hope I have covered that at a basic level.
I would suggest $1000 – $1500 USD a month you could have a great life on Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem and want for nothing.
The beaches await you, see you soon!